Have you lost someone you love and need help settling their property or assets? Are you interested in creating or managing a legal will? Are you concerned that someone may be taking advantage of an elderly loved one?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may find it helpful to contact a Texas probate law attorney. Fundamentally, probate law should be straight-forward and issues should be resolved with relative ease. Unfortunately, the highly emotional and easily-contested nature of probate law cases create complications for many Texans.
Understanding Probate Law
When someone dies, his or her assets – cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, insurance policies, retirement funds, cars, art, etc. – become what is known as their estate. What happens to these assets after death is where probate law comes into the picture. This is often referred to as the probate of an estate, or simply, the probate process.
The probate process is managed by a special Probate Court, which oversees the execution of wills and manages the probate process when there is no will (also known as “intestacy”). Some of the general elements of the probate process may include the following:
- Establishing if the deceased had a will
- Gathering of assets
- Paying outstanding debts
- Distributing assets based on the provisions of a will
- Distributing assets according to Texas law when there is no will
Sometimes the probate process becomes emotionally-charged, complicated, or contested by family members. In these situations, an otherwise simple probate process may result in additional legal procedures or even a trial.
The Issue of Intestacy
When someone dies and he or she does not have a will, this is called being intestate. In these cases, the estate of the deceased will be distributed according to Texas law, which states the following:
- If the deceased is married, assets will be distributed to the spouse and children.
- If unmarried, with children, assets will be distributed among the children.
- If unmarried with no children, assets will be distributed to the closest living family member.
*Note: This is an oversimplification. For more information, it is important that you contact an experienced probate attorney.
Unfortunately, when someone is intestate, he or she has no control over where assets will be distributed. That means that if a parent desires a certain asset to go to one child, but does not have a legal will, then the Probate Court can distribute that asset at its discretion based on state law.
Why should I execute a Last Will and Testament?
Death is a difficult topic for people to think about, let alone discuss, but in order to secure the future of your family it is important to remain proactive and think about how you can protect your loved ones when you pass on.
By executing a Last Will and Testament, you can clearly define your wishes for your assets, as well as determine who will be appointed guardian of your children. If you neglect to execute a Last Will and Testament, a Court may make certain determinations about your assets and your family for you.
It is important to hire an experienced attorney who can assist you in drafting and executing a Last Will and Testament that complies with the law, and that also clearly outlines your wishes.
Protect Your Assets and Your Loved Ones
The probate process is one area of the law where you want to have an attorney that you trust on your side. At Daic Law, we work with clients in all sorts of probate law matters. We also have a plethora of resources in the community to make sure you get all the help you need. If we can’t assist you, we will work to connect you with someone who can! We value our clients and have your best interests at heart.
Contact our office to learn more about the probate process by calling (713) 808-5246. You can also send us an email at email@example.com.